'Oh to be in England' now that it's May*

>> Tuesday, 10 May 2011

It's a special kind of torture for me, visiting the English countryside in May.

I don't get homesick, as a rule. I prefer to try and live in the moment, and look ahead to the future than to wallow in the past and what might have been. I love my life in Moscow - well, most of it, anyway. Sure, London is where I feel most complete, most grounded but I wouldn't want to have missed out on this chance to be in Russia, and to shake things up a little, to 'live a life far from prozac' (Husband's expression, not mine, but it's apt enough for me to have nicked it here).

But I'm only human, and I have always thought May the most beautiful month of the year to be in England, with the blossom, the briar roses in the hedges, the still-fresh colours and a sense of newness everywhere. Oh, the weather's not reliable, I know that; after weeks of blazing sunshine, the rain came down - on and off - on my brother's wedding on Saturday. But it was as much off as on, and still warm, and frankly if you want guaranteed sunshine on your big day the best piece of advice I could give you is to go to Las Vegas (I write that as someone who also had rain on her wedding day and really, it didn't spoil a thing...).

So I have to admit that yesterday morning, driving across Salisbury Plain with clouds scudding across the sky, more shades of green in evidence than I would ever have though possible, and surrounded by the beautiful rolling landscape, it was hard to come to terms with the fact that we were headed for Heathrow and that journey's end - yesterday, anyway - was Moscow, Russia.

"Look at that..." I said, misty-eyed to Husband as we took the back road to Shrewton over the plain, surrounded by the sort bucolic loveliness I had grown up with in the Cotswolds but which I had mistakenly thought no longer had much effect on me.

He looked at me as I blinked back the tears. "You can take the girl out of England, but you can't take England out of the girl."

Truer than I had realised.

*with apologies to Robert Browning. Although to be fair, in the second verse of the poem - you can read it here - he does wax lyrical about May, too...


lulu's missives 10 May 2011 at 12:00  

I feel for you. Living in Chicago for 10 years was torture as they have NO spring. It is one of the joys of living back here, even London looks beautiful when in the throws of spring.
Suggestion: Pack everyone up and move home! :-)

MsCaroline 10 May 2011 at 13:01  

It sounds truly beautiful. I imagine it WAS hard to leave. I feel the same sort of thing (oddly enough) about Arizona in January and February, when the orange blossoms are in bloom. Heaven.

Muddling Along 10 May 2011 at 14:57  

It always strikes me when coming back to England how many different greens there are - and I also find it beautiful at this time of year

nappy valley girl 10 May 2011 at 17:37  

There is definitely something special about English spring.

It is very beautiful here now Spring has finally come, but in a suburban way with green lawns, well-tended azaleas and magnolias, and well pruned cherry trees. I miss that countryside brimming with new life.

Milla 10 May 2011 at 20:00  

living just 5 miles from where you grew up I can report that it is absolutely gorgeous right now. Just really really lovely. You'll get it again but feel reassured that it is so much appreciated, even in the context of just being what is expected, let alone cf Moscow.
Don't think a May has ever been as pretty, to be honest. Part of that may be extreme gratitude after a long grind of winter but wonderful nonetheless. X

Michelloui | The American Resident 10 May 2011 at 20:58  

As an American who has settled in England for just over 20 years I don't have any sentimentality when it comes to the English seasons. In other word, there's no 'English in the girl' to take or leave.

However. I do really REALLY love England in the Spring! I even wrote a post about how England does spring so well. I also think summer is pretty lovely. And autumn is beautiful. Winter is a bit meh, but I can cope with that when we have spring to look forward to. And just today I was commenting to my husband about the roses in hedges. It's when the cow parsley first starts to appear that I know spring is here.

Iota 11 May 2011 at 04:52  

Cow parsley. I really miss cow parsley. It's nature's beautiful abundance.

Oh, I see that Michelloui has just written about the same thing. We are thinking along the same lines (she did a post just about cow parsley recently, which is perhaps why it's in the forefront of my mind).

Happy Homemaker UK 11 May 2011 at 15:01  

We just drove across Cornwall over the weekend - just breathtaking! XOL

Metropolitan Mum 11 May 2011 at 20:04  

Great, you made me cry!! In Cafe Nero!!!!!!!

Metropolitan Mum 11 May 2011 at 20:05  

PS: Might be a bit over sensitive at the moment...
PPS: NO, I am NOT pregnant :)

Expat mum 11 May 2011 at 20:55  

Oh dont. We have had the coldest April on record here in April. Two days ago it was 58 (farenheit) and yesterday it was 88. Today is hot and humid but we're in for another week or so of cold weather then it will be full on summer, in all its hot, stickiness. There's no spring here at all, and I have a lovely collection of jackets too!

Home Office Mum 11 May 2011 at 22:48  

That is why we chose to stay in the UK, instead of moving abroad. Just that little something that's impossible to say why England is lovely (particularly in May) but it is.

Knackered Mother 11 May 2011 at 23:14  

Oh, how lovely. I started 'going out' with my husband in the month of May in 1988 (not that you actually go out anywhere at 15). In fact, I love May so much, it is my baby girl's middle name.

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